Indexed on: 07 Jun '13Published on: 07 Jun '13Published in: Nature communications
Nanoscale modal confinement is known to radically enhance the effect of intrinsic Kerr and Raman nonlinearities within nanophotonic silicon waveguides. By contrast, stimulated Brillouin-scattering nonlinearities, which involve coherent coupling between guided photon and phonon modes, are stifled in conventional nanophotonics, preventing the realization of a host of Brillouin-based signal-processing technologies in silicon. Here we demonstrate stimulated Brillouin scattering in silicon waveguides, for the first time, through a new class of hybrid photonic-phononic waveguides. Tailorable travelling-wave forward-stimulated Brillouin scattering is realized-with over 1,000 times larger nonlinearity than reported in previous systems-yielding strong Brillouin coupling to phonons from 1 to 18 GHz. Experiments show that radiation pressures, produced by subwavelength modal confinement, yield enhancement of Brillouin nonlinearity beyond those of material nonlinearity alone. In addition, such enhanced and wideband coherent phonon emission paves the way towards the hybridization of silicon photonics, microelectromechanical systems and CMOS signal-processing technologies on chip.